Arts & Entertainment

AI bot pens first movie script in Japan

By Maria Roldan and Yoko Kaneko

Tokyo, June 3 (EFE).- Furukoto, a Japanese robot, has become the first artificial intelligence machine to write a script for a short movie.

“Boy Sprouted”, a 26-minute short, was unveiled at the Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia which this year explores the theme of meta-cinema.

The short depicts a child’s aversion to tomatoes and his mother’s efforts to get him to eat them.

What she doesn’t know is that her son has a tomato plant sprouting on his back.

Furukoto, an AI bot developed by the Ales Inc Japanese startup, developed the concept of the short on its own, director Yuko Watanabe, tells Efe.

“I was frankly surprised because it was something that could have been written by a person,” she adds.


The adaptation of the script took around three months. Watanabe says that 93% of the work is AI content and the remaining 7% was crafted by a team of humans.

“When a work of art is created, the author dreams up some meaning or message. As much as some say it’s nonsense, it has a meaning. But an AI has no body and no mind, so they have no intention when it comes to doing something. This is the big difference with a human,” the filmmaker continues.

“As much as you ask what something means or why it should be a tomato, there is no answer,” says producer Ryohei Tsutsui, who describes the project as a “very Zen” experience that transformed his idea of cinema.

Furukoto creates scripts by selecting sentences from a vast catalog of possibilities.

The robot uses “deep learning” and is nourished by millions of documents on university and research networks, Hiroki Tawada, leader of the Furukoto project, says.

Tawada, says that in its current state, Furukoto could write a feature film in three days, which begs the question: why did it take three months to adapt the script for “Boy Sprouted”?

Professor Hitoshi Matsubara, an AI expert, explains that the team tweaked the script several times and got multiple feedback to refine the product.

Matsubara was behind the pioneering 2016 project that saw a robot pen the short novel Konpyuta ga shosetsu wo kaku hi (The day a computer wrote a novel).

According to Tawada, Matsubara found Furukoto’s short script boring.

The AI was too obscure and the script too perfect for the professor.

“Artificial intelligence extends human creativity,” says Matsubara.

The expert thinks robots could become very useful for creatives to overcome writer’s block and by adding elements of “accidental creativity” to projects.

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